Contact: Abigail Fota, College Relations Associate - Media, 610-740-3790

"Lives and Works: Talks with Women Artists"
Joan Arbeiter Presents a Richly Layered Historical View of
the Women's Art Movement

Allentown, PA (February 23, 2004) - A series of mixed media portraits of contemporary women artists by Joan Arbeiter will be on display in the Tompkins College Center Gallery in an exhibit entitled "Lives and Works: Talks with Women Artists." The exhibit opens on Wednesday, March 17 with an artist talk at 3:00 p.m.

The portrait series is a companion project to the book, "Lives and Works: Talks with Women Artists, Volume 2," which is co-authored by Arbeiter and published by Scarecrow Press in 1996. The book documents the lives of 14 contemporary women artists. Included in the book and the portrait series are the artists: Dotty Attie, Nancy Azara, Cathey Billian, Agnes Denes, Patricia Lay, Charolette Robinson, Ce Roser, Miriam Schapiro, Mimi Smith, Joan Snyder and Jackie Winsor.

"Women's history is fragile. It needs to be preserved and published. That is why I was happy to conduct and edit the interviews," says Arbeiter. "But I am first and foremost a painter, and writing for me is not a substitute for painting. Therefore, I decided to add another dimension to the documentation and invited each artist to sit for her portrait. Once again, they generously shared a part of themselves."

The portraits in the exhibition have four distinct, notable features. Each portrait represents a larger-than-life "likeness" of the subject, has an aesthetic "sound bite" which the subject has written across the canvas, is accompanied by a powerful or provocative quotation from the interviews in the book and has a background or a frame that is an extension of the portrait in that it echoes in some way the subject's own art. Additionally, most frames carry some hand-painted biographical notations.

In addition to the portraits, Arbeiter will also display some of her political work in the Tompkins Gallery Annex. These small mixed media assemblages are part of an ongoing series entitled, "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl Fulfilling Society's Limited Expectations." Each collage begins with a vintage photo of Arbeiter in her formative years, then documents the timeframe in question with an authentic period magazine illustration and finally, updates and completes the message by including position statements from contemporary feminist books and periodicals.

Arbeiter received an MFA from Pratt Institute and a BA from Brooklyn College. Arbeiter's work has been seen in nineteen solo and more than eighty group shows. Her paintings and drawings are in many public and private collections throughout the U.S. and abroad.


"Lives and Works: Talks with Women Artists" will be on display in the Tompkins College Center Gallery from March 17 through April 18, 2004. The gallery is open 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. daily. Admission is free. For more information, please contact Erin Goga, Gallery Coordinator, at 610-606-4666, Ext. 3469.

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Abigail Fota
College Relations Associate - Media


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